Coca-Cola is releasing its first piece of new creative since COVID-19 lockdowns took effect: a cross-cultural celebration of togetherness over food shot on location during quarantine by pre-screened film crews and directed remotely.

“The Great Meal” is an homage to the silver linings of a global pandemic. The 90-second TV spot features a mosaic of 13 real households in eight countries – families, couples and housemates – preparing and sharing home-cooked meals over an ice-cold Coca-Cola. The people in the film cooked and styled their own food, following their own recipes. 

Russ Mischner, IMC director, Coca-Cola North America, adds, “There’s something so enduring and equitable about the pairing of Coke and food. This film is a testimony to that link, but also to the warm feeling of cooking and enjoying a meal with those you care about most, and to the notion that all of us are rediscovering the fact that simple moments are the biggest moments after all.” 

Food is integral to the brand’s DNA, says Coca-Cola Trademark Brand Director Erica Tuggle. “This felt like the perfect brief for these times,” she said. “It not only recognized how people are spending more time cooking together and sharing meals and special moments at home, but also the comfort and authenticity of Coke’s connection to food. We see this campaign as a big, unifying sentiment that’s right for both the moment and the brand.”

The spot went from brief to air in under 12 weeks. Anomaly New York cast the people in Orlando, Shanghai, San José, Lisbon, Kiev, London, Mumbai and Mexico City, then dispatched crews to film under strict COVID-19 regulations. “These families graciously welcomed us into their homes, both physically and remotely through technology, to bring our vision to life,” Traverso said. “Everything looks and feels real because it is.”

Los Angeles-based director Kim Gehrig and London-based cinematographer James Laxton called the shots via videoconference alongside Coke teams streaming in from Atlanta and Mexico City.

“We were shooting in multiple cities on the same day, so we’d be up at 1 a.m. watching a production happening at 10 a.m. in Shanghai,” Traverso said. “It was an experience like none other… we developed, captured and produced the entire story without leaving our homes.”

Actress Soleil Patterson provides the voiceover, which guides the viewer through the uplifting narrative over a soundbed of ambient dinner chatter captured in the subjects’ homes and the song “Sabali” by Mali duo Amadou & Mariam.

“The Great Meal” kicks off Coke’s summer campaign, “Together Tastes Better.” The program also will include photography for out-of-home and in-store advertising, and eight additional films showcasing familiar Coke-and-food rituals of emotion and connection – from watching a game over a snack with friends, to making or ordering pizza with family – that will roll out in July across media channels. The films were captured in Copenhagen during lockdown, and the photos were shot on film and digitized for an authentic, textured look. Intentionally modular, the digital-first campaign was created for Coca-Cola teams around the world to tailor and localize for their markets and platforms.